Home > Uncategorized > Willi Heinrich: “It’s quite enough that I know it”

Willi Heinrich: “It’s quite enough that I know it”


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

German writers on peace and war

Willi Heinrich: If the women had their own way there would be the death penalty for making or bearing arms

Willi Heinrich: A people proud of its war dead has learned nothing from war


Willi Heinrich
The Crumbling Fortress (Alte Häuser sterben nicht)
Translated by Michael Glenny

The times are unsafe,” said Vieale. “I’ve been in two wars and I don’t want anymore to do with shooting….”

“Were you a soldier in 1914?” asked Knopf.

“I volunteered at eighteen. I persuaded myself then that I’d be missing something if I didn’t volunteer. Since then I’ve learned otherwise.”

“That happens to most people,” said Knopf, “but then they forget it again. I was in the first world war myself.”

“Were you?” asked Anna, in extreme surprise. “I never knew that.”

“It’s quite enough that I know it,” said Knopf bitterly….


“Apart from him I’ve no time for soldiers. My grandfather was a Republican and my father was killed in 1907 during the rising of the southern wine farmers. That revolt was smashed by Clemenceau. Since then soldiers haven’t been welcome in my family….”


“You Americans! What do you know about France? You come over to Europe in boats, play at war for a bit and then clear off again.”

“Now, listen,” said Bordon, “we didn’t come to France for the fun if it. As a Frenchman you should have a slightly better opinion of us.”

“Do you think so?…You didn’t come over to liberate France! You just want to finish off the Germans, now that the Russians have done most of the dirty work for you.” 


“You Americans will come over to Europe ten times again whenever your interests here are threatened.”

“Fournier, you’re wrong about America. Once we realize that what we have to lose in Europe is not worth the risk of a war, public opinion will turn and no government in Washington can do a damn thing about it.”


“Since Pétain has been in charge the government has been running an anti-alcohol campaign. Personally I’d rather see a man holding a bottle than a rifle.”

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